To be successful in today's market and build reputation and brand, organisations need to show that they are minimising their environmental footprint and delivering positive social and economic benefits.
Corporate responsibility or sustainable development can only be achieved when environmental, social and economic principles are embedded into an organisation's management systems and aligned to broader business objectives.
Environmental Assurance’s (Pty) Ltd management systems framework provides a consistent, cost-effective and proven methodology to ensure success in realising these objectives.
While there are some very tangible benefits to be had that feed straight into the bottom line, such as reduced operational and compliance costs; other benefits, such as employee productivity or improved reputation, are more intangible and harder to measure. But all such actions are equally critical for delivering performance; be it stronger revenues, cheaper capital, reduced costs or improved shareholder value.
There are many discrete management systems and processes that are applied to deliver this improved performance: Environmental Management System (EMS), resource management, corporate responsibility.
The Environmental Assurance (Pty) Ltd difference is that all these systems are implemented in a consistent and integrated fashion. So an investment in any of these specific improvement systems can leverage faster, more consistent implementation of subsequent systems using common tools, language and quality systems.
Only through integrated management systems can organisations both measure and demonstrate the progress they are making on this agenda. Measuring environmental performance through an EMS or the efficient use of resources or a company's social impacts are all valuable activities. However, bringing together all such elements, an organisation can build a complete picture on where progress is being made and what priorities it must set for the future.
Organisations today face the challenge of complying with a growing body of environmental legislation. With the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) driving hard on this agenda in an increasingly integrated way, there are few areas of business untouched by the need to consider regulatory implications. Additionally, government agencies are now better equipped to advise on and monitor compliance with these new regulations.
Some businesses and trade associations consider environmental regulation a burden on business and a hindrance when competing in global markets. But compliance need not necessarily be a cost to business. If organisations take a proactive approach to the management of their environmental footprint, it is possible to not only meet the requirements of regulation, but also enhance business competitiveness and drive cost out of the business. Furthermore, innovation not cost, is the key driver for business competitiveness in the 21st century. If organisations take a proactive approach, modern environmental regulation can stimulate innovation and enhance competitiveness.
Understanding the intentions and impact of current and emerging legislation, not waiting for the regulator's phone call, is a critical business activity.